Heading to a dispensary for the first time? Here’s everything you need to know to make sure your dollars don’t just go up in smoke.

The Boring Stuff

Yay – it’s legal. But that doesn’t mean anyone can toke up any time. As of Jan. 1 , 2018, adults over the age of 21 are allowed to purchase recreational cannabis and cannabis products from licensed shops, or dispensaries. Smoking or consuming edibles in public places, such as parks, is still illegal. So, wait until you get home to enjoy your purchases. As of the Jan.1 legalization, dispensaries and growing operations have been popping up all over Los Angeles.

Know Before You Go

Although dispensaries are legal and licensed in California, they only accept cash. Avoid high ATM fees or being turned away by bringing plenty of green with you. Expect to hand over your ID for a security check and to sign a waiver or liability form before shopping. Many California dispensaries are laid out so the product isn’t visible from the outside, you’ll be escorted or buzzed into an inner shopping area which looks like a cross between a high-end jewelry shop and a museum exhibit. Due to strict regulations, you won’t be able to handle the product directly but plenty of budtender will be on hand to assist you, make recommendations and complete finalize your purchase.

What Kind of High?

If this is your first experience with pot, it pays to do a little research. Some basic things to consider are what kind of high you want and in what way you want to get it. This isn’t the basic bong of your college days, most dispensaries have a variety of strains, strengths and price-points available. Friendly budtenders are available to help you pick the best products for your needs, but it always pays to do your own research.

Consider how long you want to be high for, whether you just want to chill or you want to get things done, and how high you want to get. As with alcohol, dosage can be tricky for newbies but many dispensaries offer microdoses or small 5-10 mg doses of THC edibles which can be helpful when you’re just starting out. I’ve found that dispensaries with both a medical and recreational license are more likely to have low-does products.

Most dispensaries also stock CBD products which are made of cannabidiol, an extract of marijuana. Unlike THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, it doesn’t get you high. Popular uses for CBD include relaxation, pain management and sleep.

For the High Class Shopper: MedMen

Unlike a number of seedy dispensaries hidden in the back of buildings or in warehouse-like mazes. MedMen is upfront about the product they’re selling. From their iconic red bags to their sleek flagship location in West Hollywood, this chain is the BMW of recreational dispensaries. It’s a great choice for first-timers who are looking for a high end experience and want a selection of strains, edibles, topicals and even pet-friendly products.

For the Secret Hippie: Green Earth Collective

This tidy shop has recreational as well as medical marijuana and is perfect for those seeking a more holistic approach to getting high. Don’t miss their private reserve strains or their large selection of CBD products. Green Earth is located in a mostly residential part of Echo Park so plan to circle the block a few times while trying to find street parking.

For the Indecisive Newbie: LaLa Land

Don’t let the name fool ya, this dispensary means business. Their large selection – more than 80 flower strains – and impressive vape collection are more than enough reason to visit. They also stock CBD oils, topical products and a large variety of edibles. Shop their half or full-gram vapes and score a first-time customer gift like a joint, kief, dab or small pipe. Bonus points for their Spanish-English bilingual staff.

Score Some Deals

So, what’s your best bet for getting high? There’s no one-size fits all approach. But, there’s no need to limit yourself. Many dispensaries offer first-time customer offers and loyalty programs to capitalize on the new cannabis-curious market.

Posted by:Veronica An

Veronica enjoys good food, good company, and good music. She pens poems, short stories, op-ed articles, and non-fiction pieces. Her favorite place to write is under the California sunshine.

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